Saturday, 29 December 2007


We had a good Xmas. We had a BBQ round our house which turned into a major booze up. Gil is back and has received the great news that his wife is pregnant. This is especially good because she had cancer of the womb three years back and although she had some state-of-the-art surgery to clear it, it was not sure that they could still conceive naturally.

Huwy and Chris were both round along with a lot of Thai friends. Huwy came round with a 5-litre flaggon of wine and was totally blotto by the end of the night. The joys of Xmas.

Other than that, it has been the usual routine. I have been playing a bit of football, we've been out a few times, gone to the beach, to the movies, usual stuff. Some people might think this is an unfulfilling existence but to me it seems pretty great. I just wish I had more time to do all the stuff I want and enjoy playing with the kids.

Ben has reached a really nice stage where he is mostly lovely and full of fun. Jenny is generally lovely but she is in the terrible-twos and she can throw a very impressive tantrum. She just can't stand bath-time and it is always a massive drama. Still she is mostly lovely and after the tantrum she usually wants a make up cuddle.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Benny Learning

I continue to try to teach Ben to read and it is going surprisingly well. He knows the alphabet, can recognise quite a few words and he can even write a few.

My latest idea is to write a few flash animations for him. He likes to play on the computer and it will keep him interested. This serves the dual purpose of Ben learning to read and me learning to use flash. I have been knocking up a few little animations with words and sounds and Ben loves playing with them.

In the meantime, life in Phuket is good. The family went for a camping trip at Nai Yang Beach at the weekend. It was beautiful and we had a great time. Ben and Jenny loved sleeping in the tent and in the morning running straight out onto the beach. The national park there is now fully open again and the place is looking good. Great beach, tranquil, lovely people. We rented a big 4-man tent for 300 baht. We will do it again for sure. Meybe get a bigger group together and sort out a proper barbecue for the evening.

Even Spurs managed to make me happy with a great performance to get a 1-0 win away to Portsmouth.

Marco and the gang have all gone home but Gil comes back next weekend so there will be more socialising to do.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Very busy

Well all of the sudden life is quite hectic. Not only do I have quite a bit of work coming in but also there are friends in town and quite a lot of day outs and stuff going on.

Marco has been in Phuket for 10 days so we have had a few sessions with him. Got hammered with him on Sunday morning/afternoon while watching the boxing between Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather. Being away from England you lose touch a little with who are the latest stars. Ricky Hatton has become a very popular boxer back in the UK so his fight against the best boxer in the world - Floyd Mayweather, was a huge event.

In the end Ricky Hatton came up short, he was knocked out in the 10th after a good fight. I can see why he is popular. He is an all action fighter and seems to be a good down to earth guy. In the end the quality of Mayweather and having to step up a weight division was just beyond Hatton.

Spurs put me through yet more frustration last week as they lost 3-2 in the last minute again, against Birmingham - how many times? This week they made up for it with a 2-1 win against Man City and this time we scored quite late in the 83rd minute.

The weather is fantastic at the moment. If i didn't have so much work I would be getting out even more but it is good to be busy. We have been to the beach, park, fairs, etc. There is something to do pretty much every day at the moment.

Thursday, 29 November 2007


All of the sudden I have a load of work coming in from London. Not that I am moaning because the dosh is going to come in useful but typical that the work should arrive at the same time as the good weather. It is glorious outside but I am glued to my computer most of the day.

As expected, the diet has kind of finished. There have been too many temptations in recent days, nights out, restaurant visits, drink offers, etc. My will was broken. Still I am very pleased with my 7 week effort and 5 kilo weight loss. Now I have to be careful not to just bounce back so although the diet is basically finished I am still showing a bit of discipline and controlling my food intake and also keeping up the efforts at the gym. I feel good for it and felt much sharper at football this week.

My friend Marco arrives in Phuket this week and Gil is back the week after. Huwy is off to Singapore for a couple of days job hunting. He is trying to break into offshore work but cannot get his break and he is running out of time and money. If he doesn't find something on this trip to Singapore he is running out of options.

It seems like a distant memory now but England threw away the lifeline handed to them by Israel in the most painful of fashions. The manager made a right pigs ear of selecting the team playing a 4-5-1 and making all the old compromises and cock-ups that characterised most of his reign. We quickly found ourselves two-nil down. At halftime we reverted to a 4-4-2 and got ourselves back to two-two. So having found a formation that was working the manager then decided to revert to the 4-5-1 that had not worked and what do you know, we lost 3-2. Needless to say he was sacked the next day. It will be a long and painful summer watching the Euros with no England.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


Well the dry season seems to have arrived bang on time in the middle of November. There will still be the odd downpour but the weather over the last few days has been glorious. Somehow everything feels a little brighter once the sun comes out and you feel an extra spring in the step.

I am just about hanging on with the diet but I can feel my resolve weakening. We had a big eat up at a local restaurant this week and I had a boozing session with Pon in Phuket Town and another with friends in Patong. It looked for a while like Gil would be back this week which would have made it even harder to keep going but he now has an extra three weeks in Nigeria. Still I am pleased with the results of the diet so far but would like to drop another kilo or two if possible.

It has been international week for football and England got a huge break this weekend when Israel beat Russia ( I will have to buy Gil a beer). If Russia had won then England were as good as out but now we only need a draw at home to Croatia on Wednesday so it will be a late night for me.

Sunday, 11 November 2007


It has been raining hard for the last couple of weeks. It is normal for this time of year but we are in November now and the high season weather should be here soon. It could come anytime but there is no sign yet. A couple of years ago it didn't happen until January which was a bit freakish.

When it is raining a lot and you are trying to be healthy you are a bit limited in what you can do. Finding a good spell of weather for a day out is difficult and trips to restaurants and bars are limited because it is just not the same if you can't stuff your face. So things are generally a little quiet and dull at the moment. Lots of trips to the gym, healthy food, a bit of shopping, the odd movie, bit of football. Nothing to get excited about.

Things will pick up when the weather breaks and at the end of the month we have a few friends arriving. A good old friend Marco from England will be here for 10 days and Gil is back early next month. Until then I intend to use this quiet period to push on with my diet. Another two or three weeks discipline and I will be very pleased with myself. Even Pon claims to have new found resolve but I am no convinced it will last.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Dietting On

The diet continues to tick along well enough. It is more than a month now and I still feel I have another couple of weeks will-power left in me. I continue to up my efforts at the gym and to eat lots of small healthy meals and the weight is slowly droppng off which is the way it should be. Pon, as expected, has lost next to nothing. In fact I'm not sure she isn't starting to put on weight again. The concept of reducing food intake is a tough one for Thai people.

My football team had another friendly game against the teachers at the BIS school yesterday. For the first time ever, they beat us 3-2. It had been raining hard and the pitch was a bit of a mudbath. It suited them a bit more than us as they are cloggers where as we of course are passing football purists. Well almost, but it did level the playing standards a bit. I only played the second half and we were already 3-2 down. I can live with only playing half a game at my age. Just the same the lack of discipline from some of the players at this standard is frustrating. I played at centre back which is not my natural position and it was not made easier by the wanderings of two of the other defenders. I certainly got plenty of running in.

Spurs have their new manager in place. Ramos from Spain. His start seems promising. He is saying the right things and seems to have a bit of presence so we will see. He has started with a home win against Port vale in the league cup and last night we got a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough. It is the first time this season that we have not thrown away a result in the last minute so it is a start.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

New Visa Success

A successful trip to Penang although it was not smooth sailing. The first day proved a right struggle. My return flight was cancelled so my return was put back one day. When I arrived my ATM card refused to work - the banks are very suspicious of transactions in Thailand and Malaysia so as soon as they saw something out of the ordinary they blocked my card. That meant I was left relying on changing the Thai money I had with me - barely enough.

Then I realised that with all my concern about whether my bank balance would be enough - I forgot the most crucial document. I was applying for a visa based on marriage to a Thai and forgot my marriage certificate. How stupid was that? I thought it looked like a disaster. I was staying at the Mingood Hotel. It is a basic hotel but good for the price and they have a good visa agent. He said if I could get the document scanned and e-mailed then he could print it.

So with phone calls to Pon and Huwy the plan was put into action. Huwy came through and the document was scanned and sent through just in time for me to get the application in. I still had the anxious wait to see whether they would accept my dodgy bank balance but in the end it all went through and I have another 1-year multi entry visa. It really shouldn't be this much effort. I am married to a Thai with children and you would think the visa would be almost automatic. Still rules are rules and we have no choice but to play along.

The rest of the trip to Penang was uneventful. It is a chance to eat really good Indian curry with naan bread which I just love. And I had a few drinks of Guiness which is also good. I took a trip to Penang Hill which is one of the attractions of the island. It is a cable train ride to the top of the 830m hill. Well in line with the general tone of the trip, the clouds came in so there was no view to be seen. Then it started bucketing down with rain. I waited in a restaurant for two and a half hours but it just wasn't going to stop so I went back down. Well at least I saw the cable train.

And while I was away Spurs' troubles reached farcical levels. Having totally failed to perform in a 3-1 defeat at Newcastle, we then had an apparently easy uefa cup game against Getafe from the bottom of the Spanish league. We lost 2-1. Our manager was sacked. As much as I like Martin Jol and I think the board made his position impossible, I have to say it is the best thing. I was never convinced by his tactics and sometimes he was just too nice. We always got dumped on by referees because they know MJ won't kick up a fuss. It is a sad reflection of the game but the reason why all the top managers spend a lot of time attacking referees is they know it works. If you try to be nice and sporting it is just taken as a sign of weakness.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Penang Trip Tomorrow

The last night of the vegetarian festival was fantastic. It is an amazing site. For 3 or 4 hours they keep up a constant barrage of firecrackers and fireworks while the processions charge through. And somehow while throwing firecrackers at each other they keep the whole thing in good spirits.

Well tomorrow is my Penang visa trip and I am a little concerned I don't have a decent bank balance to show. It is a fairly new requirement in Penang that you need to show a Thai bank book with a decent balance. I was going to organise a transfer from England over the phone but when I called they have changed their rules and I now require a telephone banking pass code which was sent to my mum's address inEngland. Typically she is on holiday so I can't get it. I therefore only had the option of sending a letter. It might have made it in time but there is a postal strike in England. So now I have to smile nicely and hope they are kind to me. It would be gutting to do all the effort and expense of this trip and only get a 3-month visa. Fingers crossed.

Still I am quite looking forward to the trip. It is a chance for some decent Indian curry and some Guinness.

In the meantime money continues to drain from my account like someone pulled the plug out. My flat in England is finally renovated and occupied again (by a nun I think). However the washing machine instantly broke down and had to be replaced plus yet more renovation work and I even had to refurbish it. It will be at least another month before the rent starts coming in.

Work from England has also been very quiet with nothing to do for around 3 months. Fortunately it has picked up this month with quite a bit coming in but again the money won't come until next month. I keep on expecting this work to dry up completely but I now think it will last until December. Once it is finished I will have to seriously look into making some money in Thailand.

Late night tonight, Spurs at Newcastle.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Last Night of the Veggy Festival

The diet continues slow but steady. That is the way it should be. I am going to Penang next week for a couple of days. I need to get a new 1 year multi-entry marriage visa. The last couple of times I have taken the bus. It is a long ride and there is now a direct flight so that is what I am doing this time. It is an okay trip. Makes a nice little break. I keep thinking about sorting out my 1-year extension but I acually quite enjoy these visa trips. I will take a couple of days break from the diet as it is no fun being away if you can't eat or drink. There is a decent gym in one of the hotels where I can work off those excess calories.

Tonight is the conclusion of the vegetarian festival. We have been to a couple of the processions. They are spectacular but I have seen them so many times now that I dont' get excited anymore. We have also eaten plenty of the vegetarian food which really is good. Tonight is always fun. It is a firecracker extravaganza and a truly spectacular site as the procession charges through the smoke and flashes. Pon and I will go. We can leave the kids at home as it is a late event.

On Wednesday I went round Huwy's to watch the vital England game in Russia. We blew it. From one-nil up and looking comfortable, we lost 2-1. Now qualification is out of our own hands and looking unlikely. Sometimes I think being a footy fan is more heartbreak than it is worth.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Start of the Vegetarian Festival

The vegetarian festival has started in Phuket. This annual event (see Phuket Vegetarian Festival) is certainly the weirdest event of the year in Phuket. Nobody fully knows where the origins of this strange event come from but it was certainly Chinese settlers or visitors who introduced it a long time ago. Since then it has developed into a bizarre spectacle with street processions, body piercings, displays around the Chinese temples and all sorts of weirdstuff going on. It is 10 days of pure madness and just has to be seen.

There are a number of rules that should be followed for the 10 days. The main one is that you should only eat vegetarian food. Others include wearing white clothes, no alcohol and no sex. Pon makes an effort to adhere to a vegetarian diet. There are vegetarian foodstalls everywhere this time of year so it is not that difficult. I play along when we go to see the events but otherwise I continue as normal.

We went to the Downtown area of Phuket Town this morning for the first full day. We had vegetarian food and bought some white clothes. At one point Ben gave us a nasty little scare. Pon had crossed the road to buy some food. Ben suddenly decided he wanted to join her and dashed across the road. Luckily there were only a couple of motorbikes coming and they managed to stop in time. He has never done it before and we had relaxed. It is a reminder that you only have to relax for a second with kids and something terrible can happen.

Before we went to the vegetarian festival we went to the gym and I had a go at the yoga class with Pon. I have always heard that yoga is hard work but I was surprised. I was absolutely soaked in sweat by the end. Still it makes a nice change from the usual workout so I might do it again.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

School Holidays

The school holidays have started so Ben is very happy. I wonder if he will actually start to miss school after a while. I don't think so. I don't remember ever wanting to get back to school when I was a kid. Jenny is pleased to have him back. Although they have the odd dispute they still generally enjoy having each other around to play with.

Meanwhile, one week in and the diet is going okay. Well for me - I don't think Pon is going to lose an ounce. Thai people are really rubbish at dieting. They like their food too much and they can't stand being hungry. Instead they look for magic solutions or take appetite suppressing pills. I try to explain to Pon that losing weight does involve feeling a little hungry sometimes but it is just not the Thai way. If they are hungry they eat.

I have upped my efforts at the gym (just got another two months membership) and I am also back playing football. I am eating a reasonable amount of healthy food and I have dropped a couple of kilos. Of course that is normal when you first start a diet and most of that is just water and food clearing my system. Still I think I have dropped a bit of fat.

Spurs are teetering on the edge of a turning point. Having recovered a 4-1 disadvantage against Villa into a 4-4 draw we then went and got a 2-2 draw at Anfield. Normally this would be a good result but of course in typical Spurs style we almost won but gave away a last minute equaliser. It was still a step in the right direction so I hope it turns around for Jol before he loses his job.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Time for a Diet

Unbelievably, Spurs compounded their half time situation by going 4-1 down and then made a comeback with a last gasp equaliser for a 4-4 draw. It makes a nice change from us throwing the match away in the last minute. Still I cannot bring myself to be too pleased as we were dreadful at the back and we really needed a win. We are still in the bottom three. Still it is the sort of moment that can be a turning point. You never know.

Gil has gone back to Nigeria. We had final drinks with him on Sunday night. Thought it was just going to be a quiet night out in Phuket Town but in the end we got totally hammered.

Pon and I are now going on a little diet. Neither of us are badly overweight but we have let a few kilos pile on. It is something I seem to find myself doing every couple of years. The weight slowly goes on to the point where I say it is enough. I set myself a limit of 80 kgs. Whenever I hit that point it is time to lose some weight. So a bit of discipline over the next month and I hope to lose 4 or 5 kilos.

I have done this three or four times before and am reasonably good at it. Plenty of exercise and eating a sensible amount of good food is the answer. Do not try to lose weight too quickly - 1 kilo a week is more than enough. Also drink plenty of water and avoid sugar and fat.

I never needed to worry about my weight until my 30s but as you get older, you put on weight that much easier.

So I have added our starting measurements to the side of the blog:

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Ben Busts his Head

Huwy has yet more drama in his life as his wife falls ill on the same day he needs to organise his visa trip to Penang. Everything he does seems to turn into a crisis. The result was we ended up babysitting their kids on Saturday morning while he was trying to sortt his stuff out.

To add to the drama Ben was playing with Fern and managed to fall off the hammock and crack the back of his head open. There was a lot of blood and it looked quite nasty. We took him into Phuket International Hospital where they very quickly pinned the gash together with 4 staples. Ben was a little upset but quickly recoved and was soon running around again.

The one good bit of news was that Ben's school insurance paid for the hospital bill. It is one of the few financial breaks I have had in the last few months. My flat in London is currently empty and being renovated which is killing me. I have not had much work from Hammersmith so there has been no money coming in. Still it is looking a bit brighter now with the flat due to be let again this month and some work coming in again.

Right now Spurs are torturing me again 3-1 down at half time against Villa. Jesus!

Monday, 24 September 2007

A nice week

It has been a nice week. We have been out with Gil a few times. Over the weekend I had quite a bit of work to do over the internet but wouldn't you know the connection was up and down all weekend. Saturday was a beautiful day so we decided to go out for a drive. We ended up at the north of the island. We did a nature walk around a mangrove forest and then found a nice spot by the beach right next to Sarasin Bridge. We ate somtam and drank beer while the kids played. It was lovely.

Yesterday, despite my dodgy internet connection, I managed to get through all my work.

Last night Gil and I went to Patong to watch the football. Spurs ground out a 1-1 draw at Bolton. Normally this would be a decent result but in the current situation it is not enough and the crisis deepens. Gil was a bit happier as Man U beat Chelsea 2-0.

Huwy has been in Pattaya for a week. As with most things that Huwy does, the trip turned into a bit of a drama. It is all much too complicated for me to go into here. He got back to Phuket last night.

It looks like Gil will be going back to Nigeria next week. Gil was convinced he had left for good but circumstances have changed. His boss had a heart attack after Gil left and they are desperate for Gil to help them out. I think Gil feels a bit obligated after working so long there so despite himself he will be going.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Weener the Dog

It has been a busy if uneventful week. England got another good result winning 3-0 against Russia. Tonight I endure more Spurs torture as we face another grilling from Arsenal.

Huwy and family have gone to Pattaya for a few days so we have his dog weener. Ben and Jenny are pleased. It is an energetic little sausage dog and they have been chasing it all over the house all morning. Needless to say the dog was exhausted long before they were.

Gil's entire family are in Phuket for a week. They were greeted with a tsunami warnng at the start of the week although it proved to be a false alarm. I may join him and his brothers for a few beers tonight but we will see how the football goes first.

Monday, 10 September 2007

A Good Result

So Huwyy and I ended up watching the England-Israel game around Gil's house. Pon went as well as she is good friends with Daeng. The game went well for us with a comfortable 3-0 win. Gil took it well - as much as he supports Israel he still saves his most passionate ranting for Man U games. So up to this point a few beers and a bit of wine had been drunk and everything was to pan.

Then Huwy suggested we try a bar he had heard about not far from Gil's house so off we go. It turned out to be a small farang bar and nice enough so we settled in for a few more beers. Somehow the ante was upped and we started doing a few shots and B52's. Now I just know it is a mistake to start on the shots but somehow at the time it always seems a good idea.

By the time we staggered out of the bar everything is a little hazy. What we do know is that Huwy decided to do a quick shadow box with a statue but in his befuddled state he mistimed the punch and actually hit the statue knocking it down. The bar owner was not happy and started threatening to call the cops. Not that that would have worked so it was a pretty empty threat. We mumbled our apologies, made a feeble attempt at picking the statue up and stumbled out. I don't remember much more of the night. Huwy had cut his hand open in three places. Fortunately Pon was there to drive us home.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Ben and Jenny in Good Form

Ben and Jenny are both in great form at the moment. They are so full of life and charm. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be able to say this is where I want to stop time. Just stay where we are now because everything is so good. The pair of them can leave me quite exhausted by the end of the day but I wouldn't have it any other way because they are so much fun.

Ben seems to be doing fine at school. He does not like going but not many kids do like school. His Thai, colouring and drawing have all greatly improved. My efforst to teach him English reading are also bearing some fruit. I try to find 10 or 15 miutes a day to do a bit of ABC with him. He can now identify most of the letters of the alphabet and read the first few pages of Peter and Jane. We have only been doing it for a month so I think that is good progress. My thinking is that if it takes a year before he can read books on his own then that will be good going.

Jenny is just full of character. She laughs and plays so easily. Her English has noticably improved over the last couple of months with her stringing little sentences together and making up her own phrases. She seems bright as a button and loves looking at books. If Pon and I haven't got time for her she will happily grab a picture book and start flicking through the pages.

Gil has been back since Saturday so we have met up for a couple of quiet nights out. We had a few drinks in Phuket Town last Sunday and last night we had a meal and went to the movies (Invasion - not bad but I think remakes always struggle to make the impact of the original). Tomorrow England play Israel at football. Gil is from Israel so it is an opportunity for a bit of friendly rivalry. We are going around his house for a little party to watch the game. It will be a change for Huwy and me to be on the same side against Gil.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Spurs Torture

Spurs continue to asolutely torture me. Last night they totally dominated the game against Fulham, took a 2-0 and then a 3-1 lead and then contrived to throw it away to another last minute goal for a 3-3 draw. It is just incredible that they do not learn. We make the same two mistakes every time we get in a good position. First we get all cocky, look at us, we're so good and go into cruise mode. Then the other team take advantage of the cruise mode to get back into the game and then Spurs get all scared, go into their shells and invite an end of game siege that invariably leads to a goal.

I still support Martin Jol as manager but I have to say he has got to sort this out because it is destroying us. If he does not learn his lesson this time and insist that the team keep pushing until the end of the game then he will start to lose the support of the fans as well as the board.

Gil got back from Nigeria yesterday so I expect we will be out for a few beers in Patong tonight. He at least will be in a good mood as Man U sneaked a 1-0 in over Sunderland yesterday after sneaking a 1-0 win over us last week. It will be good to see him again. He has finally quit his job in Nigeria so he can chill for a while before looking for a job closer to home that will give him a better lifestyle.

Friday, 31 August 2007

Night Out in Phuket Town

Pon and I went for a night out in Phuket Town last night. We do these nights out together occassionally. I really think it is good for the relationship to go and get pissed together sometimes. Get away from the kids and other friends and just spend a night together. Pon is always good company for these trips.

We started at Timber Hut. It is the most popular bar in Phuket Town with a live band and always lots of customers. It is actually the bar where we first met. We moved on to Jammin which used to be the next most popular bar in town but the last couple of times we have been it was very quiet. Last night we discovered it had closed. We went on to a Thai Country music bar on Sakdidet Road and then the bar in the Thavorn Hotel. At 1:00 am most bars close but we found a nice place on the way home that stays open until two and finished the night there.

A night out in Phuket Town makes a nice change to Patong. You often find yourself the only westerner in some of these bars so you always get a bit of attention but it is always friendly and well intentioned.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Renew Driving License

I am just about calming down after Spurs' weekend game against Man U. As is normal in this game we were stitched by the referee. Having played well and restricted Man U to a handful of chances we had two clear penalty shouts turned down. How the referee missed the first one when Vidic literally threw himself into Berbatov is beyond me. The second one was a clear handball but possibly difficult for the ref to see - although I don't think so as I saw it first time on TV and everyone else around it saw it.

As if that was not bad enough Man U go up the other end and score just a few minutes later. And although it was a good strike it still only went in because of a lucky deflection. So once again a game against Man U leaves me seething at the sheer injustice of it all. It is crazy that a game of football can do this to grown adults but I was in a bad temper for a couple of days.

So today I renewed my Thai driving license. I got my first license last year to finally make myself legal on the roads here but the first one is only for 1 year. So yesteday and today I faced up to the hassle of dealing with thai bureaucracy again. Armed with a conformation of address letter from immigration, a health certificate from the doctor, photocopies of all relevant pages of my passport, photos of myself and my old license - I went down the local transport office in Phuket. once I finally had all the documents sorted out it remarkable only took 15 minutes to get the new license. And the new one is valid for 5 years.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

We have found a taker for the rabbit so I don't have to worry about whether to keep it. It would have been a nice pet for the kids but the amount or crap they produce is a real pain.

I went out for a night with Huwy and Udo in Patong. The usual routine around the usual bars but a nice night out. At the end of the night I was so hammered that I couldn't find Huwy. Udo had already gone home. I went to the toilet in Soi Tiger and I think I just went back to the wrong bar. In a state of wretched confused drunkenness I gave up and found a tuk tuk home. I have a vague memory that the first tuk tuk took me the wrong way - probably because I was too drunk for them to understand me. So they dropped me off and I got a second tuk-tuk home. I really don't handle the booze like I used to.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007


We have found a rabbit. I don't know where it came from but it has been living with us for a few days. We are asking around to see if we can find the owner but so far no success. It was found hiding behind a bush near our house. It was wet, dirty and trembling. I guess it is a scary neighbourhood for a rabbit with all the cats and dogs around. We took it in, cleaned it up and put it in our garden. I didn't think it would stay for long but it seems to have settled down nicely.

It is white with dark ears. Ben and Jenny love it. "Rabbit, rabbit' Jenny says, "carrot for the rabbit.' The rabbit seems fine with them. It is happy to take carrots from them and be stroked. It does not much like being picked up and kicks its legs so I have to hold it by the scruff of the neck to avoid being scratched.

At night we put it upstairs in our currently spare room with the leaking roof. I don't think we can leave him out overnight because of all the neighbouhood cats. As it is I think it is only a matter of time before a dog or cat comes into the garden and grabs the rabbit.

If we cannot find the owner soon we will have to make a decision whether to keep it or not. I am not sure I want to keep it because it will be a hassle keeping it safe and there will be rabbit pooh everywhere. On the other hand the kids love it an it does save cutting the grass. It is amazing how much difference a rabbit can make to the lawn in just a few days. If we decide to keep it we will have to buy a cage.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Damned Achilles

Our ex-pat football team have a tournament going on at the moment. Unfortunately I cannot play. My achilles tendon injury has flared up again. It is a long standing problem for me and so frustrating. I have to be so careful when I play. I always do a half hour warm up before I go. I have to take a few days break between playing to let my msucles loosen up again. I also put heel lifts in my boots to take the strain off the calf muscles. But still sometimes it tears. I have a little tear at the moment but I know if I play it could go completely. I pushed it a few seasons ago and it ruptured. I had to literally crawl off the pitch. I could not even walk for a month.

It is so frutrating because apart from that I am very fit for my age. I would be a very good player in the over 35 tournaments if only my achilles was okay. Ity is my own fault for not taking better care when I was young. Not enough time warming up or stretching and playing through injuries has caught up with me.

So I watched the guys from the sidelines. Normally I hate watching because I am dying to play. This time I must admit I did not envy them at all. They were totally outclassed by the Thai team. To make it worse it was pouring with rain. It looked like a thoroughly miserable experience. They lost 5-0. We know we don't have any chance of winning these tournaments but we do hope to atleast make it through a few rounds. The next game is tomorrow and I still won't be fit. Maybe in another couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Learning to Read

Well the new football season continues and Spurs continue to torture me. I stayed up until 4am last night to watch Spurs put in a dire performance against Everton. We lost 3-1 and could not complain. We look totally shorn of creativity. The defence is missing a few players and was shambolic. And we are trying to squeeze all our superstar strikers into the same team. When will managers learn to play players in position and in a formation that works? I am in a bad mood this morning.

I have decided it is about time Ben started learning to read. I figure since he has the extra demand of learning two languages and two alphabets then it is time to push on. I have always read story books to Ben and Jenny and they both love them. But now Ben is 4 I have started getting him to recognise words and learn letters of the alphabet. He seems kind of neutral on the whiole concept but in our few sessions so far he can now read a few words and letters. I figure if I can do 10 minutes once or twice a day then in a few months he should start to pick things up.

Not that I have any knowledge of how to teach reading so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Football is Back

Well the football season is finally back and what a dissapointment. After all the hype and transfer activity Spurs kicked off and went right back to type. An opening away fixture to Sunderland was always going to be tricky. We always start the season with a tricky away fixture which I can't help but feel is because the fixture list is now fixed to make sure Arsenal, Man U and Chelsea always start with a comfortable home fixture.

So after 92 dreadful scoreless minutes of huff and puff Spurs contrived to go totally asleep for the last 3 minutes and just gave Sunderland a goal with the last kick of the game. Spurs are so tough to support sometimes. They do this again and again until it becomes painful to watch. And it just never happens the other way round. I can't remember the last time Spurs grabbed a winner with the last kick of the game.

To add to my despondancy, the TV coverage has gone downhill. It has been bought by the Thai satelite TV service and put on Thai channels with no English build up or half time/full time analysis.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Happy Birthday Ben & Jenny

Yesterday was Ben & Jenny's birthday. Yes they were born on the same day but two years apart. Very hand for a combined birthday party.

We had a big birthday party and they loved it. We got Ben a remote controlled car and a little games computer. We got Jenny a new racing car she can sit on and push. So far Jenny shows no signs of liking dolls or any other girly stuff. She likes the same things as Ben such as cars and balls. The only girls thing she really likes is her cuddly dog which she still loves and can hardly be parted from.

There were lots of other kids around and they all had a great time. Huwy and another friend called Udo came round for a fair few beers. It was all a good night.

One thing I have noticed over the last couple of months is I have been tired a lot. The result is I have often been grouchy and yesterday I noticed it was getting Pon down. I know I have been doing it and keep telling myself to buck up but somehow I kept being grouchy. Thinking about it I think it has coincided with Ben starting school and my having to get up early to take him. So my new reslution is to make sure I get a bit more sleep and pick my mood up a litt.e

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Work About the House

Boo (Pon's daughter) is the latest to come down with the lurgy. She has a headache and fever. I guess it is going around.

The odd jobs around the house have been building up and it is time to get them done. The final straw was when a guest went to the downstairs toilet and as she was sitting on it, it fell over. It made a hell of a noise. Quite amusing really although she looked a little shaken. So we have called in the local handyman. His name is Dum and he is Burmese but has lived in Thailand for a long time and speaks good Thai - I understand him better than I can understand most Thais.

We will get him in for a couple of days. Fix the toilet, replace the shower and bum gun and a few other jobs. We are slowly getting rid of all our wooden door and window frames. They seem to be an attractive home for termites so the simplest option is just to remove them.

In the meantime I will push on with fixing the interminable leaking roof. My solution of filling the gaps with silicone seems to work. So now it is a matter of filling every gap. I need to pull the entire ceiling down and get to work. Once it has done we will have to wait for some serious rainfall and see if it stays dry. If that is okay we will get a new ceiling built. Instead of having a solid ceiling we will get ceiling tiles so they are easy to move in case of future leaks.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

More Ills

Blimey it just seems to be one ailment after the next at the moment. This time it was my turn again. I was hit with a stunning headache. I don't think I have ever had a headache like it, not even with my Dengue Fever a couple of months ago. I endured it for a day and a half but in the end it was just too much and I headed down the hospital. I was barely able to describe the symptoms to the doctor as the headache pierced into my skull. I don't think he really had much idea what it was but he suggested maybe a flu or some other virus and gave me a medicines to cover just about every possibility. It was another 24 hours before I began to feel human again. I just had to hunker down and sleep as mush as I could until then.

But only three days later and I feel perfect again. Today I played football in Patong while Pon took Ben and Jenny to play by the beach. In the evening Pon and I went to the Halal Food Celebration in Thalang. It is a nice little fair with quite an impressive show. A Thai style play depicting some of the history of Phuket's settlement. It is all a bit of a drama with lots of wailing and crying but the set is spectacular, great costumes, lots of colour and 500 performers.

It has been a long weekend for Ben because it is Buddhist Lent. He is back at school tomorrow.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Visa Run

So today was my visa run. I hate this day. It is a tedious chore that I have to perform every 3 months to extend my stay in the country. I normally look for a way to make it more interesting by turning it into some kind of trip. I haven't actually done the standard minibus run to Ranong for almost two years but for some reason this time I couldn't be bothered to make a trip out of it so I did the standard run.

You can find a description of the standard visa run here - The Standard Phuket Visa Run.

The good thing is our friend Geoff (the millionnaire) has added a visa run operation to the legal business ran by his girlfriend - Bangkok Legal Services. They have bought a very good minibus with comfy seats and a TV & DVD. They are even doing the trip for a bargain price of 1,300 baht all in. So it was an easy choice to give them a go.

They didn't make the best of starts when they turned up 20 minutes late but from then on it was all good. They just got on with it which is all everybody wants. Get the job done and get home. There were only 5 of us on the bus which makes all the difference comfort wise. There were no idiots on the bus which also helps, no overstayers, no messing around.

We were back home just after 4pm which is the fastest visa run I have ever done by a mile. It is still a crap day but at least it was less crap than usual.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Ben's Ails Continue

Ben has been vomiting again over the last couple of days. This time so much so that he could not keep any food down and was clearly suffering so we gave hime the day off school. He was also complaining about his ear again. This time we decided to take him to an ear specialist as I am sure he has an ear infection. So we took him into Phuket Town to an ear doctor on Phuket Road.

It took the doctor about 10 seconds to declare Ben's right ear was clogged with wax and infected. I suspect this may well be the root cause of all his ailments over the last few weeks. He has actually been complaining about his ear on and off for a couple of months. Goes to show you should take note of what the kids say.

The doctor set about sucking the wax out of Ben's ear with a nasty looking suction syringe. Ben was a little nervous but he sat still and patiently endured the process. He has been a little soldier about the whole thing and made me feel quite proud. The doctor gave us some ear drops and hopefully they will clear the infection.

Ben looks better already and is back at school today.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Ben's Energy

I wonder about Ben sometimes. He seems to have quite extraordinary energy levels. He never stops and when there are other children around to play he turns into a whirling dirvish. We had a friend around today who bought his seven year old son. Ben played and played and played with this kid. They ran, jumped, chased and played for hours. This kid eventually ran out of steam but Ben just never stopped and would not let this poor exhausted kid stop either.

I have seen Ben do this before. He can just run other children to exhaustion. I worry that he might be hyperactive but on the other hand maybe it is a good thing and just shows he is a very fit boy. I try to cast my mind back to when I was a kid. I can't remember back to Ben's age but I do remember having lots of energy. When I was a kid we would go to the park to play football after lunch. We would play constantly until it was dark and then head back to our street to play other games until we were finally called in by our parents.

It would be fantastic to have all that energy now. Imagine what you could do if you never needed to stop. Sadly there is no beating age. It is all I can do to keep Ben and Jenny entertained and under control.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Ben is Better

Well Ben is very much better. The cough is gone and he is full of energy - actually he was always full of energy. I went to bed at midnight last night only to find that Ben had got out of bed and was happily playing bu himself. Needless to say he was rahter tired when we got him up for school this morning. We are meant to take him for a follow up visit to the doctor but I am not sure I can be bothered.

I have a new interest - torrents. I recently bought a video camera so that I can take home videos of Ben & Jenny growing up and therefore I also had to find software to convert those videos into DVDs (Nero seems to the best software out there). One of the few frustrations living out here is that you miss some of the TV from back home. There is not much I am bothered about but I did want to see the second series of The Office so I investigated torrents.

It took me two days to download the entire second series and the Xmas specials but now I have them. I do not seem to be able to get the speed above 20kbs which seems very slow but it gets there in the end. I think I am missing something on the set up but maybe it is just the limits of my internet connection. I will continue to tinker.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Ben's Cough

We took Ben to the hospital for a check up. The doctor was very good. He spoke good English and quickly diagnosed bronchitis. He explained we needed an X-ray to make sure there was no pneumonia. He also said there was the possibility it as asthmatic bronchitis but it is difficult to tell the difference. Of course I hope Ben is not asthmatic - I can't see why he should be. There is no history of it in either Pon's or my family.

Anyway the X-ray was clear for pneumonia. They gave Ben breathing treatment - a breathing mask that mixes air and medicine into a steam. Ben was a little intimidated by it all but he was quite the little soldier about it. The doctor gave us some medicine. There was bronchial clearing stuff, antibiotics in case there are any related infections (we think he might have an ear infection, an and asthmatic tablets just in case.

The funny thing was although he was meant to be sick he was sprinting round the waiting room for most of the time we were in the hospital. Anyway a couple of days later and he is much improved.

Went for a night out in Patong with Huwy. It was the usual routine around the usual bars. A nice enough night out. We finished off with a pizza at our usual restaurant. It was slow coming and Huwy threw a little strop and walked out. Huwy is a good straight-up guy but he does like to make a drama of things. The simplest problem gets turned into a major event. Guess we won't be going back to that pizza place for a while.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Ben's Ear

Ben's cough has returned with a vengeance. He was coughing all night and had a rough sleep. Then he was sick in the morning. He has also been complaining about his ear so I think it looks like an ear infection may be the problem. Since it hasn't cleared up it is time for a visit to the doctor to have it looked at.

Everything else is normal. Pon and I went for a night out in Phuket Town on Monday. We were going to watch a movie first but the schedule was wrong so we just went out boozing. We started at the bar in the Thavorn Hotel. It is a nice cosy bar with live Thai country music. Then we went to Jammin. This is a more pub style place with a live rock band. It used to be one of the most popular bars in Phuket Town but it seems to have dropped off the in-list. There were only a handful of customers. Still it made for a nice atmosphere as the customers could have a bit of banter with the band.

After that we went to YoYo Restaurant by the weekend market. The boss, Khun Joy, is a friend and also an old friend of Pon was coming. The beers flowed quickly again and we got absolutely hammered. It was good fun but again I remember little of going home and woke up with a stunning hangover. I worry I have lost my booze handling ability.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

The Gym

We forgot to go to the gym this morning. Well okay, I overslept. They have three morning yoga classes that Pon attends regularly. The only problem is the only day we can go together is Saturday. On Mondays & Thursdays Ben is at school and Jenny will not play on her own. Therefore after dropping Ben off at school, I drop Pon off at the gym and then I go home with Jenny. I go to the gym early afternoon for a session before collecting Ben from school.

So Saturday is our day when Ben & Jenny can play together in the play room while I do a session in the gym and Pon does her yoga class. Don't let anyone tell you having children won't affect your life. Everything revolves around them.

Over the last month or so Ben & Jenny have developed quite a sibling rivalry. They are endlessly battling over toys and they will not share anything. I think Ben was the one who started it but now Jenny is standing her ground and they will fight over anything. I am not quite sure how to deal with it. No matter what we try the pair of them will not et on. Hopefully they are just going through one of those phases.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

What a Hangover!

Yesterday was a complete write off. The day before Geoff had one of his little parties at his house. I don't know what happened - it seemed like a normal long boozing session. We were certainly hammered by the time we left and I don't remember much about going home. A big session for sure but I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary. However the next day I was just wiped out. I lay on the sofa until 3pm and whenever I did get up I felt giddy and had the shakes. I don't think I have ever had a hangover quite like it. I've had a few where I felt dreadful but not actually physically faint. I think it is a little warning that I am getting older and my body cannot handle heavy boozing sessions the way it used to.

Today I feel recovered. I will go and do a lunchtime session at the gym before picking Ben up from school. Then we need to do a shopping trip.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Night out in Patong

I went for a night out in Patong last night. Patong is the biggest tourist town in Phuket and is where all the tourist nightlife goes on. I lived there for a while and always used to visit often. However, I have not been down there for a month. It is a fun place but over time you start to get bored of it. It is still a good place to visit but I can't be bothered to go there regularly.

I went with Huwy and we did our usual rounds of the bars where we know the owners. A few drinks and a chat and then on to the next bar. I am definitely out of practice as I felt hammered after an hour. Still we ploughed on, got slaughtered, had our traditional end of night pizza and then struggled home barely conscious.

It was good fun but it might be another month before I go again.

Thursday, 28 June 2007


Yesterday we did a shopping trip to supercheap. It is a big cash & carry style warehouse. It is basic presentation with no air-con, concrete floors and the goods piled high. However it is out & out the cheapest place to shop in Phuket. We don't go there very often as it is a bit of an effort compared to Big C but every now & then we pay it a visit. The other problem is you are tempted to buy so much because everything is so cheap. I kept a tight rein on myself and limited the spending to 4,000 baht.

Among other bargains, we got a little train set for Ben. It is a fantastic little train that goes, has a light, makes train noises and makes smoke - all for a paltry 160 baht. Ben loves it. He is funny when something really takes his attention. He could not leave the box alone until we got home. Could not control his excitement as I loaded the batteries and once he was playing he could not even waste time to eat. Come bedtime, I had to drag him away from it. I am not sure exactly what time he woke up - I think it was about 4am that he went downstairs to play some more. And of course he wanted to take it to school and he says he wants another one. It is nice to see him so happy and excited. Of course it is only a matter of time before he breaks it.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

A Day Off for Ben

We gave Ben the day off school yesterday. He still had a cough and a temperature. It is the first time he has missed a day. He was actually very boisterous all day and probably would have been fine to go to school. He is back at school today.

Pon and I have resolved our little medicine dispute. Pon agrees not to rush into giving the children medicine and I agree that Ben can have some cough syrup to ease his cough.

The interminable tale of our leaking roof goes on. There was a bit of rain yesterday and there did not seem to be any water coming through the tiles I had bunged up with silicone. We need some heavier downpours before I can be sure and if it looks okay I will do the same thing with the few remaining leaks. We will then leave the ceiling open for a couple of weeks to make sure it looks okay. In the meantime Ben and Jenny continue to sleep in our room. It is actually quite nice. They both tend to wake up early and climb into our bed for a cuddle.

Sunday, 24 June 2007


Benny has a cough and is occassionally vomiting. Jenny also has a little cough but otherwise seems fine. These little ailments always cause disagreements between Pon and myself. It is one of those different culture things. Pon always wants to give them medicine as soon as possible. Thai people love medicine - they must have more pharmacies per head of population than anywhere.

I don't believe in rushing to give the children medicine. I don't think it is good for them to unnecessarily put drugs into their systems when I think their immune systems will deal with most ailments. The other thing is Pon does not worry too much whether the medicine is totally appropriate. She gave Ben anti-allergy drugs for his cough which left me distinctly unimpressed as I don't think he has any allergies. She on the other hand is convinced I am showing a lack of care by not giving medicine.

It is one of those culture differences that you have to find a way round to make these relationships work.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Pon's Birthday

Yesterday was Pon's birthday. We had a party. It was good fun. The usual routine with lots of beer, Thai whisky and food. We did it inside as it has been raining a lot over the last couple of days. Everybody got thoroughly hammered and in traditional Thai style we got the karaoke mic out. We managed to make so much noise that the neigbours called the police. I think I was probably the worst culprit.

Woke up this morning with another hangover and struggled to run Ben into school half an hour late. Then I fell back to sleep and didn't wake up until the afternoon. I feel better now.

Before the party I spent some time working on our interminable leaking roof. I bunged up the gaps between the leaking tiles with silicone. I think it looks promising but I will have to wait for the next heavy rainfall to be sure and typically the weather has changed for the good.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007


It has been pouring down the last couple of days so I have had a good chance to look at our leaking roof. The problem is the angle is just not steep enough. There are only about seven leaks but they add up to a lot of water. The water is not sliding down the roof fast enough and on a few of the tiles the angle is so shallow that the water backs up between the tiles and starts dripping through.

It's a tricky one. To increase the angle of the roof is a major job and a lot of money. I am still looking for some kind of bodge solution. Yesterday I tried blocking up one of the leaks with silicone. It has reduced what was a very fast leak to a very slow leak so I guess that is some kind of success. I think I can see where the slow leak is coming from so I will try some more bodging today. If that doesn't work my next plan it to get the builders back in to relay the roof tiles with an extra row of tiles (each tile is about a meter long) so that the overlay is greater and the water has further to back up.

Last night Pon and I went out to watch a movie. It was a Thai comedy - lots of childish slapstick which the Thais absolutely love. Afterwards we went for a meal. There was a storm raging and the water was flowing along the roads in rivers. We tried a new karaoke bar but it didn't look very inviting so we end up at a restaurant on the road to Bang Wad Dam. It was nice with live music, good service and decent food. I love being in a bar when there is a storm raging outside.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

No Football

Not much happening at the moment. I have been going down the gym every other day. Pon is still doing her yoga classes. There is no football in Patong at the moment as there is a tournament taking place. I went down last Sunday and the French guys were very put out. Apparently some of the other guys have entered a team in the tournament but didn't tell them about it. The French guys were totally convinced they would have won the tournment if only they had known about it. I couldn't help but laugh. We beat them every match and we know we have no chance of winning one of these tournaments. The best Thai teams are too fit and too good.

There is a Danish guy who always plays up front. He is middle-aged, overweight and also totally crap. He just stands up front all game so occassionally gets a tap-in which convinces him he is a superstar. He is furious. Apparently a team of the French guys supplying the amunition with him slotting them away would have been unstoppable. You have to wonder how these guys get so far from reality.

So there is no football to play and no football to watch. These summers when there is no major competition really seem to last a long time. It has only been a month and that means there is still another two months to go.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Benny has a Gik

Benny quickly shook off his fever but now Jenny has it.

Benny has a gik. That is Thai for a special friend, usually of the opposite sex. I knew this would happen. The Thai girls are going to love his fair skin and western features. He is going to do so well with the girls. I just didn't expect it to start when he is three.

So today I have just done the tedious yearly chore of my tax return. At least these days it can all be done online which just makes the world such an easier place to enjoy. My income all comes from the UK - rent from my flat in London and income from my part time work over the internet. Type in the figures and the Inland Revenue website does all the calculations. I can even make the payments with internet banking. Nothing has to go by post. The internet makes living abroad so much easier. I can keep in contact with friends and family, work and do my admin while living on the other side of the world.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Nothing Special

Benny had a fever come on all the sudden last night. He was suddenly very tired but also a soldier about it with lots of brave smiles. I was worried it might be another case of Dengue Fever but he seemed to be okay this morning so we took him to school. Boo's bus didn't turn up so we had to run her into school as well.

It is raining again today so we have another chance to look at the leaky roof. It is amazing how much water can come in from such small leaks. I have marked them all so we will chase the builders again.

Jenny is missing Ben. Now he has started school she hasn't got anybody to play with in the mornings. She does like watching Thomas the Tank Engine but I feel guilty leaving her to watch TV while Pon does the housework and I do my work. She gets a bit more attention in the afternoon.

Monday, 11 June 2007


We had a party last night around our house for our friend A's birthday. Yes his name is A. We have known him a few years. He is Thai and a nice guy. He bought three cases of beer and it seems to have done the trick. I am well and truly hungover today. It was a good party.

It finally rained a little today so I had a look at the leaking roof. There are 7 leaks, all around the same three or four roof tiles. We have called the builders to come back and have a look and see what they can do. It is now a beautiful day again.

The new computer is all put together and running fine. I installed both hard discs, the DVD writer and a memory card from the old computer. The new computer now runs like a dream.

Friday, 8 June 2007

The Roof Again

So we got the builders back in to look at our leaky roof. The only real way to see where the water is coming in was to open up the ceiling. Now we must wait for the rain so we can see the leak. And wouldn't you know it - all the sudden the weather is lovely.

Benny is nicely settled in at school. He has always loved playing with other children so it mostly suits him. The only problem is he does not like sharing things. I guess that is fairly normal for young kids. He has started taking his own toys to school and I was pleased to see yesterday that he was sharing them with some other boys.

Jenny is back to being lovely. She went through a very demanding phase with lots of little tantrums. It only lasted a couple of weeks and mostly coincided with her being ill. Just the same I am so used to her being lovely that it was worrying to see her turn into a little monster. Glad she is back to her old self.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Offline Again

I have been offline again. This time it was the computer. The fan went. Such a small thing but as much as I searched the computer shops of Phuket, I could not find a compatible replacement. So for the sake of a part that would cost about 500 baht to replace I had to replace the whole computer. Well not the whole computer - I bought a new box, motherboard, disc drive, etc. I am now going through the tedious chore of moving the DVD writer and hard discs from my old computer to the new one. I have to re-install all my software, etc, etc. Probably a good couple of days work.

Still I am back online.

And while I have been away not much has happened. It looks like my fever last week was actually Dengue Fever. Huwy's little stepdaughter Fern has been diagnosed with the same thing. Well that is bad news because once you have Dengue Fever once it means if you get a it again the next time can be much worse. The body's immune system can react badly to different strains of the disease and that can lead to Haemmoregic Dengue Fever.

It was Huwy's birthday last night so we went round his house for a few beers. Other than that I have played a bit of football and been down the gym. Pon is quite getting into the yoga classes.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Leaky Roof gets Worse

Well it didn't take long to find out the result of our roof work. The first downpour and the water was pouring through the ceiling much worse than ever before. The problem is when the guys go up on the roof to do the work they are putting pressure on all the joints and can actually leave things worse than they started. So we will have to call them back in.

Just had a call from Huwy. Geoff is having one of his parties because today is a Buddha day so all the bars are closed. Guess I will go for a few beers although I don't really fancy it that much at the moment.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Expenses, Expenses

Finally got off my arse and did something about our leaky roof. We called the builders who last repaired it (not the ones who originally built it). What he said is true - the roof slope is just not steep enough. His suggestion was to take a foot off the height of the outer wall so that the whole roof could be rebuilt at a steeper slope. I didn't like that suggestion - it would cost 50,000+ baht for what is just a slow leak. I suggested filling up the gaps in the roof with silicone. That is what he did so we will have to wait and see if it does the job.

These little expenses just keep coming. Yesterday I also got a furniture upholsterer to look at our sofa. The cloth is splitting. We inherited the sofa from the people who sold us the house. It is a good one imported from Germany and apparently cost 200,000 baht. In the end we decided to replace all the cloth on the bottom half of the sofa. It will cost 9,800 baht.

What with normal living and school expenses, all these other things add up. While my finances are currently solid enough, when I think about 20 years of putting Ben and Jenny through school and university I become more and more convinced that I need to earn a little extra money somewhere. This is not easy in Thailand where work options for foreigners are very limited. My current income comes from renting my flat in London and part-time computer work from London. While it lasts this is actually fine but I know the part-time work will come to an end quite soon. It has been going on for five years and I am surprised it has lasted this long.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Went for a Dive

By yesterday I had mostly shaken off my fever so I decided to join Sheldon for a couple of dives at Phi Phi. It has been a long time since I last went for a dive. I do love getting in the water so I don't know why I haven't been for so long. Huwy joined us. Same as me, he has not dived for a few years.

It was a beautiful day. A long 3 hour boat ride out to Phi Phi and we did our two dives at the two little Koh Bida islands. The first dive was a getting back into the swing of it affair. It only took me a minute before I felt comfortable in the water. It was a nice dive down the wall, across a few corals and around the island. Plenty of fish and lots of colour.

The second dive is very similar but at the second island. Unfortunately Huwy quickly had to surface after getting pain in his forehead - probably a burst capilliary. Huwy always seems to suffer misfortune. Once Huwy was away we pushed on with the dive and I thought it was really nice. Lots of fish, nice rock formations, beams of sunlight cutting through the water and to cap it off we saw a lovely big turtle.

A relaxing lounge on the deck for the three hour ride back to Phuket to cap off a very nice day out. It will definitely not be so long before my next dive.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Still Feel Crap

Okay, I have been offline for three days - physically that is. What a pig of a fever plus a pounding headache and sore throat. I really haven't been able to do much. I have spent most of the last days lying down. I have still been doing the school run for Ben (Pon is not a great driver and it is heavy traffic). Even though it is only a 15 minute trip, I have been coming back soaked in sweat and shivering. Basically I have been a bit of a wreck - no idea what it is.

Jenny has also been suffering a fever. I am not sure if it is the same thing as I have. She also has a runny nose which makes it look more like a normal cold. Either way, Jenny and I have been spending a lot of time cuddled up together on the sofa watching TV. Jenny is amenable to a good long cuddle at the best of times so when she is ill she settles down very easily.

Tonight I was going to meet a friend in Patong. His name is Sheldon and he work's for a dive company. He is only back in Phuket for a few days. We were going to meet him in town for a few drinks and possible join him for a dive later in the week. Well the drinks plan has gone out of the window as it would just about kill me. I am feeling a little improved today but still fairly crap. If I can shake this thing off then maybe a dive later in the week is still on the cards.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

I Feel Terrible

Well despite my miserable condition we pushed ahead with my little birthday celebration. Pon is great at organising these parties. Just a few friends and lots of food and drink. I wish I was in a better state to enjoy it. I felt like a bit of a party-pooper which is especially bad when it is your own party.

Huwy came round and we watched the FA Cup final together while the Thais spread out in the garden. Huwy is another Man U fan (they really are everywhere). Sadly for him Chelsea beat Man U 1-0 with a goal late in extra time. While I sympathise for him (us Spurs know plenty of disappointment) I couldn't really get excited about the game. It was an awful game and to be honest it is hard to feel positive about either of these two money-bag clubs.

We joined the Thais in the garden and despite the fact that all I really wanted to do was curl up in bed, I actually lasted through to the end at about two in the morning.

So this morning I woke up feeling even worse. Fever, cold shivers, nasty headache, sore throat. I have spent all day curled up in bed or on the sofa and that is where I am going back now.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

It's my Birthday

Yesterday was a great day. I did my computer work in the morning. In the afternoon we picked Ben up from School and went to the Gym. Pon and I exercised while Ben and Jenny messed around in the playroom. After that we went for a walk around Tesco Lotus before going to Oishi in Index Living Mall.

Oishi is a Japanese restaurant that does a buffet for 370 baht a person. You can eat as much sushi and other Japanese food as you can. It is an excellent spread. We found yesterday that they have added a kids play area to the restaurant. This is a massive selling point for parents. Any restaurant that provides the kids somewhere to play is likely to get some patronage from us. A chance to eat your food in peace is an absolute joy.

We ate until we could eat no more and then went for a stroll around Index to walk it off. Ben and Jenny were in great form and ran around laughing and playing. It is great to see them so happy.

We went home tired but happy and put on a movie. Ben loves boats so when he saw The Poseidon at the video shop he insisted on getting it. No school tomorrow so we let Ben and Jenny watch the movie until they fell asleep in our arms. Perfect.

Today is my birthday and would you believe it, I woke up with a dreadful headache. I seem to have a cold. Typical. Pon was going to organise a little BBQ for my birthday with a few friends. The way I feel right now I would happily skip it but Pon has already gone shopping. Hopefully I can shake it off enough by this evening that I can enjoy the do.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Ben Settles into School

Initial impressions of Ben's new school are quite good. There are 30 kids in his class but they have three teachers in the classroom so plenty of attention. The teachers in the lower age group classes are almost all women. Ben's teachers all seem very nice although I can't help noticing some of the teachers in the other classes are stunningly attractive while Ben's are not - still I'm a married man so I shouldn't be thinking about that sort of thing.

The traffic situation has settled down and does not seem to be a problem. Ben has also settled down. He doesn't actually want to go to school but he doesn't cry about it. When I went to collect him yesterday he was feverishly crayoning away. He also now does a lovely wai (Thai greeting). This is one of the strengths of Thai schools - they put a lot of effort into producing well-mannered polite little brats.

I played football again yesterday. It was fun. The French guys formed a team with a bunch of Malaysians. They did not get on and the French gallic temperament was on full show. Lots of drama and arm-waving. Apparently the Malaysians were passing to each other when they should have been giving the ball to the French. The French guys collapsed into sulky-huff mode and we soundly beat them.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Ben's First Day at School

So today my little boy Ben had his first day at a proper school. He is 3 years 9 months and has previously done a couple of months at nursery and summer school. I think those months served him well today as he took it all in his stride. Quite a few of the other kids were crying but Ben was unconcerned about the whole thing.

He is going to Darasamut on the edge of Phuket Town. It is meant to be one of the better schools in Phuket. For the older age groups they offer bi-lingual schooling with western teachers doing the English language lessons.

Ben is in Anoobahn 1 - that is the first year of schooling in Thailand. This is followed by Anoobahn 2 & 3, then 6 years of Primary education (Prathom 1 to 6) followed by 6 years of Secondary education (Mattayom 1 to 6) . If you want to know more take a look at Phuket School Information.

Anoobahn is just like pre-school - it is mostly drawing and playing with toys.

I think Darasamut will be Ben and Jenny's long term school but I haven't made up my mind for sure. We will see how Anoobahn goes. This morning was traffic chaos around the school and it took us 20 minutes just to get in (and another 20 minutes to find Ben's class). If it is like that everyday it will drive me nuts. Hopefully after the first few days the traffic will settle down. I couldn't face doing that traffic jam for the next 20 years.

Darasamut has a good reputation but if it turns out we don't like it then the next most likely option in our price range is Kajon Kiet School. It is also a bi-lingual school with a good reputation. It a little further to drive but probably doesn't have the same traffic problems so wouldn't take any longer.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Party at Geoff's

Yesterday I got a call from Huwy. He has been a friend of mine here for a few years now and recently moved to my housing estate so he is also a neighbour. He told me we had been invited to a party at Geoff's house.

Geoff is a millionnaire. His parties involve as much free beer as you can drink. He has a nice house with swimming pool and maids to serve the drinks. So generally his parties are a good thing but it is certain that you end up staggering drunk.

I decided to play football in Patong first. It was an okay game. There are a load of French guys playing at the moment and because no-one else wants to play with them we put them all on the same side. We beat them 5-3.

Then I went to Geoff's party. It was only a small affair with a few guests. San Miguel Light is my current beer of choice. I am not a big fan of any of the beers in Thailand but you have to drink something and San Miguel Light is easy to knock back so I waded in with gusto.

Yesterday was also the last day of the English football season so we watched that while supping Geoff's beer. Spurs got a 2-1 win against Man City which guaranteed us european football next year and had the added bonus of gaining us fifth place again.

So I woke up this morning with a stunning hangover and vague memories of getting home. But what joy when I opened the fridge - a great big cornish pasty was waiting me. I remembered I had cadged it from Geoff the night before.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Nothing Special

Spurs ground out an important draw against Blackburn. Now we only need to draw at home against Man City on the last day of the season to make sure we qualify for the uefa cup.

Gil has returned to Nigeria but he is determined this will be his last trip. He wants to find a job closer to Thailand so he can spend more time with his wife (Daeng). We went to visit his wife last night - she is good friends with my wife Pon. Our two toddlers love playing around Their house because it is somewhere different to explore and they have two dogs to play with. Pon and Daeng got fairly hammered on Thai whisky while I had a few beers and watched Football Focus on ESPN.

Pon and I are now exercising every other day and I feel better for it already. It is psychological as much as anything. I am used to doing plenty of exercise so when I go through periods of not doing any I start to feel bloated and unfit. Well I do like my food and beer and that intake remains the same whether I am exercising or not.

There is nothing special going on at the moment. May is always a wet month so it is not easy to do trips. Still I am sure something interesting will come up - it always does.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Leaky Roof

It is May and that is traditionally the start of the rainy season in Phuket. This year is no different - it is pouring down.

We had our back balcony converted into a childrens bedroom a couple of years ago. The roof couldn't withstand the monsoon deluge. There were only a few slow dripping leaks but when it rains like buckets for hours on end those slow dripping leaks add up to a lot of water. It soaks through the ceiling and slowly becomes an unpleasant fungusy mess.

In the end we had no choice but to take the whole roof off and replace it. It only cost 30,000 baht which when you think about the amount of labour and materials involved - is a bargain. Well it would be a bargain if it had worked.

We did it halfway through last years rainy season and it looked good. We had no more leaks. Unfortunately this year's first truly heavy downfall and the water is leaking through the roof again. I woke up to find the light fixture hanging by its wires and a huge puddle of water on the floor.

I think it is only a slow leak but what happens is the water has only one easy outlet from the ceiling and that is down the small hole for the electrical wires into the light. The light filled with water until the weight was too much and the fittings gave way.

Now I am going to wait and see for a few days. Almost certainly we are going to have to deal with the problem but at the moment I don't want to face it.

Not to worry. Today I am going to play football in Patong (if the rains hold off) and tonight Spurs play again so I will be staying up late.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Another Good Day

I am in a good mood today. I was up until 4am watching Spurs play at Charlton. Spurs won and that always puts me in a good mood. I am a big Spurs fan and never miss a game. Last night we won 1-0. It was always going to be a tough game as Charlton needed to win to avoid relegation - nevermind Charlton. Spurs needed to win to help us qualify for the Uefa Cup and we are now almost there.

In the meantime I have joined a Gym. I have always been into fitness but it is difficult to find the time with the family , work, etc. So I have to make it easy for myself. I have joined a Gym just up the road and close to my son's new school. Now we can drop him off for school and go and exercise. The gym is called Easy Fitness and is quite nice. 15,000 baht got us 6 months membership for the wife and me.

Monday, 7 May 2007

BBQ at Gil's House

Yesterday was a nice day ( we have a lot of nice days ). First my football team played against the teachers team from the British International School (beautiful school and a lovely football pitch). We play this game every few weeks. My team is formed from a rag-tag bunch of ex-pats who play a regular game on the big pitch by Patong Beach.

We are actually better than we look (or should be considering our age). We have beaten the teachers every time so far and yesterday was no exception. We beat them 4-0. The team played well and I played well, capping it all off with a nice goal. I really am too old for this game but I still love playing and I can still put in a respectable performance.

In the evening we went to a small party at a good friend's house. His name is Gil and he comes from Israel. He is also a longterm resident of Phuket and married to a Thai. He works offshore in Nigeria for 10 week stretches and only gets 3 weeks off. It is a job that he is starting to hate - not surprising since there are kidnappings on a daily basis out there.

Gil is a great guy. He is mostly happy and easy going. There is one big exception. He is a rabid Man U fan and whenever they are playing he turns into a ranting, gibbering tazmanian devil. He doesn't realise it but he is the worst type of Man U fan. The sort that give all Man U fans such a bad reputation. He thinks Man U fans have it tough, he turns on his own team whenever the game is proving difficult, he believes everybody is against Man U, he genuinely believes referees are biased against them, etc. Yesterday Man U had to beat Man City to take a huge step towards the Premiership title. Man U won 1-0 and were mostly comfortable. That didn't stop Gil from screaming abuse at the TV, turning on their manager and most of their players, jumping up and down and throwing peanuts around. I am used to it and couldn't help laughing. His wife's family was there and looked a little uncomfortable.

The game finished and Gil turned back into the normal affable bloke he is for the rest of the time. We had a good BBQ and a few beers. Our two little toddlers always love these events and played themselves to exhaustion. It was a late night for them but it doesn't do them any harm now and then.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

My First Post

My first ever blog!

Where do I start. Well this blog will mostly be for me. I sometimes wish I had kept a diary - it would just be nice to be able to look back and be reminded of things I have long forgotten. Well never too late to start and a blog seems the perfect way to do it. Just my own little diary but open to the world.

So I will start with an introduction. My name is Jim. I am English but I live in Phuket, Thailand. I have a wife (Pon), two children (Ben and Jenny) and two step children (Chem and Boo). It is a good life. A great place to live and a lovely family.

I am a computer programmer. My work is based in England but I have the good fortune that I can do most of it over the internet so I can base myself in this beautiful part of the world. Living here is much cheaper than in England so I don't even have to work full time. So I have plenty of time for trips to the beach or travelling around this fantastic country.

I really do like Thailand. It is a great place to live. So much to do and see and so different. While the country is beautiful, it is the people who really make it. They are eccentric, strange, sometimes frustrating but almost always fun.

So there it is. I have started my blog.